Tuesday, 27 October 2015


So I've just completed the registration form for the certificate..

It's quite the feeling.  I didn't think at the start of the course that I would get this far. I mean I obviously wanted to finish the course but I can procrastinate very efficiently. There were a couple of times where I had to give myself a good talking to, and make myself sit down to complete the Thing. This normally happened when I'd had a look at the task and had a mental blank.  Usually when I sat down and looked at it properly, it was never as bad as I first thought (though the live streaming was touch and go).

Would I recommend the course?  Yes, I would; even to non-librarians. There is so much stuff out there and you don't need to know about it all so it's useful if someone wants to hold your hand along the way. To sort out the rubbish and say 'this might be useful', 'have a go'. It does take self-discipline and enthusiasm. It's a great course - I've said that all the way along. The help and encouragement from the Rudai 23 team was paramount to the success of the course. I've also recommended things like a glossary which might be useful looking back over the tasks.

Will I keep up with the blog? I don't actually know. It's a useful vehicle for recording thoughts and deeper reflective thinking about tasks, courses etc. We've already seen how important that is to our professional development. I can't see me posting to it regularly but who knows!

Thanks go to the Rudai 23 team for organising the course, keeping up to date with all the blogs and commenting on the posts, encouraging, and sourcing materials and information. I would certainly push you to re-run the course; obviously after a well earned rest.

Making it all work together - Thing 23

The Last Thing....

How to make it work together. To keep track of everything we've signed up for, and to make it easier to engage and contribute to the discussion.

I was most interested about Hootsuite and about Buffer. I've heard about Hootsuite, though I think they use Tweetdeck in work as a way of keeping on top of the twitter account. But I haven't used either. Having the one twitter account means that it is fairly easy to keep on top of it. However that account combined with all the others and soon, I'm buried under an avalanche of social media.

I signed up with my twitter account to Hootsuite which was quite straight forward. I also added my feed and my mentions as separate streams. And those of you who have checked twitter recently (in the last 15 minutes) will have seen my post via Hootsuite.

All good so far. I did try to add a link to my blog post as normal but that didn't quite work. It's more likely my problem than Hootsuite not doing what it's supposed to. As I have taken on the responsibility of Candidate Support Officer for CILIP Ireland, I am toying with the idea of a twitter account. Hootsuite would be a fantastic way to keep a track of both it and my personal account.

I have just had a look at Buffer and hope that my first scheduled tweet will come through at 11.45am. Fingers crossed. Both Hootsuite and Buffer allow for scheduling of tweets so I think I'd be better concentrating on one social media management tool.

Update: the first scheduled tweet didn't happen. Maybe it will randomly appear tomorrow at 11.45am.

Mobile Things - Thing 22

Putting all the Things together is one thing, but putting them all together while on the move is another. It's good to see the Rudai 23 team covering this.

Answering the questions:

Option 1 - I don't have an iPad or iPhone.  I'm an android girl through and through. I did check the Play store in case Gumit had released their android version early but no.  It's a shame as I can see how this app could really work in libraries. Academic libraries could use it to identify the module codes that list the book on their recommended reading lists, or even to help identify ebook versions. However there is no point introducing this in an academic library if it only serves half the customer population.

Option 2 - I quite like the Pocket app. I had used it initially when I got my smartphone, tablet etc but haven't used it regularly. It acts like a document folder and is quite useful for storing things to come back to at a later stage. I'm overwhelmed keeping track of everything so I might need to scale things back for a while. However I don't think I can really comment on how Pocket works, its functionality etc as I'm not a regular user.

Option 3 - 23 Mobile Things. I had a look at this website and while I hesitate to get involved with another Things course, it looks like a fairly comprehensive course. The team that set it up aren't actively participating in it any more. I think that's disappointing. I can understand why they aren't as I'm sure it is as time consuming for the team as it is for the participants but the encouragement along the way has helped to make the current course. I think we need this - to have a sense that someone is reading and commenting on the blog posts shows that you have an audience - even if it is only that 1 person. The range of Things covered looks great. It bounces from twitter to maps, to QR codes, to Adobe ID, to ebook apps and digital storytelling. It's an extensive list; some of which we have already covered in the current course.

From the look of it, you don't need to work through the course week by week. If you want to put everything together, then I assume you should but I imagine that you could dip in and out of the Things that interest you. You do need to share everything via Twitter. I think that could be quite difficult. There are a lot of questions posed at the end of each Thing post and I think these would be better answered in a blog, where you have the freedom to write and expand on your thoughts. Though answering the questions via Twitter would mean that you would need to be very inventive with your 140 characters.

23 Mobile Things comes across as an advanced version of the 23 Things course. I'm disappointed that you don't get a certificate or something. Granted a certificate isn't the aim of the course but self-directed learning is tough! Getting something in recognition of that proves to you, your peers and your employer that you invested the time and your knowledge about what is out there is enriched.

Would I do it? No. Not at this stage but it is useful to know that it's out there.

Touching on some of the other questions posed by the Rudai 23 team -
I don't like using my mobile phone for work purposes. I have a landline phone in work for people to contact me as well as a work email.  That might not seem very helpful or customer focused but I need some sort of balance between my working life and my personal life. I don't give my mobile number out to customers, nor do I use it to check my work emails. My personal emails come to my mobile phone but not my work emails. My work email has my out of office on it when I'm not available, and it advises people who they should contact if their query is urgent. I will use it to test the WiFi strength or responsive design but not directly in my work.

I also hope that Rudai 23 was joking about taking your mobile phone out in the middle of a meeting and checking tweets if you're bored. This is really off putting for everyone else. Bad Rudai 23!

Monday, 26 October 2015

Creating Infographics - Thing 21

I haven't really seen too many Infographics knocking about the place but I think they definitely have their place in presenting information and/or statistics in easy to digest bite-sized chunks. I've always thought that it must be quite fiddly to produce one but I didn't realise that there were tools to help you. Should have known!

For those of you who read Thing 17, you will know that I am chairing or sitting on a number of Task and Finish groups this year. There is always a report to produce and these tend to follow the same format. A survey is carried out in order to get the opinion of the customers, we look at the statistical information available from the library management system, and generate some recommendations. I will have at least 3 such reports to produce over the course of the year.

The surveys are always carried out in Questback so I would let it do it's thing and produce the survey information in it's usual set-up of tables, charts and graphs. It works quite well and I don't have to fiddle with the raw data.

The statistical information from the LMS has the option of Excel and I wonder whether an infographic would work well here. Similarly, not everyone has the time to read a lengthy report so perhaps an infographic could work in terms of presenting the recommendations.  Anything that can cut down a wordy report can only be helpful to the people having to read it in the first place.

I think that an Infographic could work extremely well when presenting these recommendations and actions back to the customer base. A new way of presenting 'You said, We did'. The example below by City University Library demonstrates exactly how it could be used.

City University Library: You Said, We Did

Easy to display, easy for people to read and (hopefully) easy to produce. I also like the idea of word clouds mentioned on Rudai 23's pinterest board for this topic. It highlights Wordle. A colleague used word clouds as a way of pulling together the information from 'the any other comments' question that always appears at the end of surveys. Sometimes this is the question that provides the most insight about the customer and what they think about your service overall. I think working through anecdotal comments like these would be time consuming but rewarding for the reader of the report. As my next batch of reports are due around Easter of next year, I have giving myself plenty of time to experiment with the tools highlighted here.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Presentations - Thing 20

Presentations used to be part and parcel of my daily job as a subject librarian.  Since moving to Borrower Services, I don't tend to do any sort of presenting on a grand scale.  I always carry out a briefing session before the start of the academic term in order to remind staff in my particular library about the quirks of the system, things that have changed over the summer months and usually draft in Library Systems and Research Support so they can have their say as well.

One such presentation was carried out in September 2011. You may ask why do I remember this one - well I had only be in post for 1 year, we had recently introduced a new library management system so we still had lots of issues to iron out, and it was the one and only time I used Prezi.

I was under a lot of pressure at this time as I had taken leave just before the start of term, and before having to present this information. I was trying to set up this presentation at home without any real indication of how it would appear in a work environment. The result was that I actually prepared 2 presentations - one on PowerPoint, and the other on Prezi. I had no training in Prezi so it was a case of learning as I went.

From memory, I liked the idea of using something different. We've all had death by PowerPoint and I wasn't keen to submit my colleagues to that. I found Prezi to be fiddly to set up and use.  That might be selective memory, it might have been early days for Prezi and I was constantly thinking 'Why didn't I stick to PowerPoint?'

At the time, I went with Prezi. I was concerned about the 'motion sickness' element of it and actually made the audience aware of this.  Everyone seemed to survive though. Prezi was good as it allowed me to emphasize the connection between different points. You would swing into see the text and then swing out and on to see the next point. One member of the audience with visual impairment said that it worked very well for her as the text was of a consistently large font throughout instead of Powerpoint where it tends to get smaller as you go through your points and subpoints. All in all, I think it worked very well from the audience point of view.

And what about me? How did I feel?

Well I was glad that the presentation was over - presenting in front of your peers is always more nerve-wracking than a group of students. Despite having set the presentation up, I wasn't always sure of what was coming next. I preferred Powerpoint from this aspect - it presents the information in a much more linear manner. I can't remember whether Prezi allowed you to print out an overview - if it didn't, then maybe it does now. I didn't feel very confident about presenting the material but that's not necessarily all down to Prezi.

My advice is to really think about the information you want to get across and the connection between the points. This is where Prezi comes into its own so it's best that you know how each point and subpoint are connected to each other. Also, practice, practice and practice some more. You really need to know the sequence of your points in order to come across as confident.

Coincidentally my work now has a training course on an 'Introduction to Prezi' so as a tool it must be going to stick around. It would be good to attend this training to see what exactly I missed.  I'm sure there was a lot as I was so keen to get it finished but I probably didn't scratch the surface of what the basic free version can do.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Reflection on Thing 19


Just a quick post about Thing 19 when it's fresh in my head.

The legal side of things (no pun intended) was a brilliant post by the Rudai 23 team (thanks especially to Caroline). It was pitched at the right level for me, and now Creative Commons licences have been explained to me in a way I understand. I think before I was put off at the amount of information surrounding the licences but this was broken down into bite-sized chunks - just enough to take in. I think I'll be referring to that list of licences again and again.

It was evident that a lot of work had gone into making this cardboard like subject a bit more tasty. The history of copyright was interesting and even if the Irish hadn't thought of copyright, someone else would have so I don't think we can hold the nation as a whole as responsible. It is always evident that the Rudai 23 team have thought about their posts, backed it up with references and lots of helpful stuff like Pinterest boards but this post had links to the legislation.  That's dedication!

I also ended up coming away with a couple of new resources - unsplash.com, pixabay.com and opsound.org. Unsplash and Pixabay will definitely be passed along to the social media team in work as I think we could make real use of these two resources.

All in all, I'm more positive about using images and attributing works. Thanks Rudai 23.

The Legal Side of Things - Thing 19

Those of you who have been following my posts throughout the Rudai experience will have undoubtedly heard me mention before that using images online tends to scare me a bit. I know where I stand with a book - it's so much easier to figure out who and when for purposes of referencing. I find using material online or from online sources to be less predictable. You don't necessarily know who owns the material or work, whether they allow you to use it and how to reference it. So this post by Rudai 23 was of great interest.

Copyright and the technicalities of it tends to be something I shy aware from - dreadful to say it out loud as a librarian but it's true. I tend to see copyright as the image below

Maximilian on Pixabay.com (CC0 Public Domain)
A bit murky and grey with very little light getting in. I much prefer asking someone in my organisation about copyright issues; to get clarification rather than rely on my own knowledge.

The task for this Thing was to blog about the possibilities, issues or concerns that this subject has raised about the content you have personally created during the course.

I don't really have any concerns as largely my posts have been text based and if I have referred to someone else's ideas, I have referenced them.  All thoughts and reflections have been my own. I have also stayed clear of images so I haven't really blundered into wrongly attributing someone's work - at least not to my knowledge. However I have wanted to introduce more images to make the blog more interesting and I suppose that not really knowing what I'm doing has put me off.

I wonder also about the ownership of the screencast created in Thing 9.  I consider it to be mine as I created it but I haven't asserted any sort of licence or creative hold over it.  I don't know whether I need to.  I'll take my chances though as I can't imagine anyone wanting to use it for anything unless it is to hold it up as a shining example of how a screencast shouldn't look!

My blog doesn't have any sort of disclaimer on it.  In fact my twitter account is the only thing that mentions that my opinions are my own and aren't reflective of my employers. I don't usually put anything controversial on it so I should be fine in that regard and possibly to be extra safe, I should had a disclaimer to the blog.

In work, we do have a social media policy in order to guide the work of the social media team. It identifies our social persona, the targets we're reaching for in terms of followers or reaches and how we communicate with our audience. Again it doesn't cover how staff are to use social media within work or whether we should distance ourselves from our employer outside of work. I can only think of one occasion where post by a staff member under a personal name had to be questioned. A certain amount of common sense and a feeling of responsibility has to come into play.

After Thing 19 from Rudai, I don't think I have cleared up the issue of copyright completely, but I have more of any idea of what I'm looking for.
Unsplash on Pixabay.com (CC0 Public Domain)

The sunlight is eventually coming through to clear away that copyright gloom.